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THE ascension of Nancy Pelosi to be speaker of the U.S. House on Thursday marked two important accomplishments.

It was the first time a woman had been chosen speaker -- making Pelosi the most powerful elected woman in U.S. history -- and the first time in a dozen years that Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

In taking office, Pelosi uttered these gracious, and hopefully sincere words: ``I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship.''

And she vowed to push policies that strengthen, not threaten, the middle class and to avoid any more deficit spending. All worthy promises. In fact, there were many worthy utterances in Washington, D.C., from both political rookies and vets -- as there always is when the spirit of a new year and a new era imbues everyone with a conciliatory heart.

That really is the crux of what the Democrats must do to rise above the corruption, the excesses and the hubris that brought their Republican counterparts down in November elections. They need to work with everyone.

Perhaps that might just happen now that there's historical change in D.C. With a slim majority, the Democrats don't have the hammer to slam through legislation. They need to woo the other side. They must come together in the middle to get things done.

And because the middle is where most Americans live, that can only benefit the country.

No doubt the GOP and the Dems will tussle over their pet positions. But they also have the obligation to work together on important issues such as health care, immigration reform and the War on Terror.

The Democrats, once again in power, must take heed of the lesson of recent years that excessive partisanship and political corruption have no place in American government, especially during these difficult times.

Politicians of all stripes need to remember that they are to serve the people, not their party -- and certainly not political ideologies.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jan 5, 2007
Next Article:PUBLIC FORUM.

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